Shantha, others want IPL for women

Shantha, Shubhangi and Sudha, not to forget Diana Edulji, have been among the prominent icons of the game in India. They now wish the current generation would make the most of it – an IPL league for women would make them happy.

Former Indian women's cricket team captain Shantha Rangaswamy at the annual BCCI awards function in Bengaluru on March 08, 2017.   -  K. Murali Kumar

For Shantha Rangaswamy, Shubhangi Kulkarni and Sudha Shah, part of the nine women cricketers to have been honoured with the MCC membership, it is recognition of all the hard work they put in as players. Hard work without fruits really, as most women cricketers of their era would reflect.

“I played for nothing,” said Shantha. For Shubhangi, it was “zero match fee” and Sudha too brought home little in terms of financial boost for pursing cricket as a career. With the MCC membership, not to forget the privilege of watching a game at Lord’s with that wonderful aura surrounding cricket, the grand ladies are looking forward to watching an IPL like competition for women in India.

Shantha, 63, felt, “We can have an IPL for women provided we widen the base for the girls. We have enough players to launch such a league. I think India should have taken the initiative when the IPL was started ten years ago. It has turned out to be a grand concept with entertainment, glamour, name and fame, not to forget the money, making it an attractive tournament.”

India, stressed Shantha, has the “Administrative acumen and the revenue generating power. There might be initial reservations but I am sure it would bring in sponsors. The MCC membership is a big boost for the game in India. Those aspiring can look up to cricket as a career since there is recognition for it now.”

An elated Shubhangi noted, “It is an honour you would do anything to get. The current players would be motivated.”

The idea of an IPL for women had its merit too. “Why not? We should have launched one before the Big Bash (in Australia). There is good potential for women’s cricket in India. In fact, an IPL for women was one of the suggestions in the Vision plan we gave to the BCCI last year.

“I will be happy if the current lot does well in terms of money. In my time, we had to raise funds to meet the costs of tours and playing the game when people initially came more out of curiosity until they were convinced the girls could indeed play cricket,” opined the 57-year-old Shubhangi.

Sudha, 58, averred it was a “Great privilege. I now want to see an IPL for women. It will give splendid opportunities to players in India to take cricket seriously. I have seen good players give up cricket and go on to become bureaucrats, doctors, chartered accountants. I was termed foolish but I thought I was brave to stick to cricket. I am happy I could convince my parents to allow me to play cricket.”

Shantha, Shubhangi and Sudha, not to forget Diana Edulji, have been among the prominent icons of the game in India. They now wish the current generation makes the most of it – an IPL league for women would make them happy.